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Classical Music Review

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Sufficient Trouble
Compositions for Computer, Live Instruments and Voice


Composer: Brian Belet
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 14 July 2017

On Sufficient Trouble composer and performer Brian Belet offers a selection of computer music composed over the last twenty years. Featuring acoustic instruments and responsive electronic materials the disc offers a degree of variety in timbre and musical content that is sometimes lacking in electronic music. In 'Lyra', the album’s opening track, Belet establishes an aural world in which the organic material and electronic content merge seamlessly, clearly defining the musical language to come as the album progresses...

Sufficient Trouble is another experimental album which offers something a little different as it collects 20 years of the composer's compositions which feature acoustic instruments alongside electronic content.

To some this will be painful to listen to; for others it will be inspirational. I have to admit, while not a huge fan, that I was impressed how some of the tracks actually work rather well - the fusion of computer and instruments delivering some interesting results. While it's not the sort of album I could listen to for pleasure, it's certainly noteworthy.

Of this album's 12 tracks (1 hr, 10 min, 49 sec) 'Name Dropping' was by far the most infuriatingly self indulgent inclusion. A selection of voices perform the piece which is assembled from fragments of spoken text. The whole piece is crafted solely using quotations from program notes and biographies the composer encountered while attending concerts.

Likewise, 'Sea Lion Mix' represents a collection of sea lion calls mixed, for some unknown reason with the sound of someone laughing.

As interesting as it was, it's not a listening experience I'd like to live through again. While this sort of exploration of styles is probably of interest to sound engineers, everyone else will probably wonder what on earth is going on.


Darren Rea

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